Two community plays referencing the lives of Milton Keynes residents 100 years ago brought to life by Pepper’s Ghost Theatre Company.
Collected below are a selection of the reviews and comments we received after Rosemary Hill’s productions of ‘Nellie’ and ‘Your Loving Brother Albert’ in November. Behind-the-scenes photographs courtesy of Karen Kodish.
‘I can’t resist expressing my pleasure and gratitude in what you and your company delivered last night. The pleasure needs no explanation; it comes from seeing those two plays performed so well by mostly young casts, backed up by a superb, professional, creative team.
The gratitude is to you, personally, for treating the two scripts with such great respect. The young women in Nellie were a joy because they captured the spirit of Nellie and her friends and conveyed that mixture of fun, mischief and adventure, which they had in abundance in spite of the austerity of working class life, for women in particular, at the beginning of the 20th century. The irrepressible urge to live life to the full and to pour energy into the life of the community makes a powerful prelude to the war play that follows, where we witness that life force so abused and so grotesquely extinguished…’ Roy Nevitt – https://www.facebook.com/GreatWarMK
‘In the wake of the 2014 Centenary director Rosemary Hill, having been approached to showcase these two plays, brings us two local stories which bring two different viewpoints of life during World War One to life from the stage of Radcliffe School Theatre in Wolverton. I’ll admit this much, I’d been looking forward this since Armistice Day on Tuesday at 11am when I was at work and all the machines were switched off, everyone went quiet and you could quite probably have heard a pin drop for those two minutes…’ Adam Wilby –https://adamwilby.wordpress.com/2014/11/16/nellie-your-loving-brother-albert-15th-november-2014/
‘Any doubts that the effects of the Great War did not filtrate right through to the heart of England are quickly dispelled in Pepper’s Ghost latest production of the celebrated community plays of the Eighties, devised by champions of the genre, Roy Nevitt and Roger Kitchen: ‘Nellie’ and ‘Your Loving Brother Albert’, and directed with her usual panache by Rosemary Hill…’ Neil Beardmore – https://www.facebook.com/GreatWarMK
‘An excellent community event. The two plays contrast with each other beautifully. The life of a young women from Wolverton who survived the war and the story of a young man who didn’t. It is very important to keep telling these stories of one generation to those who come after them.’ Maggie Nevitt
Pepper’s Ghost Theatre Company have provided these fabulous shots from Nellie and Your Loving Brother Albert – final rehearsals are now taking place ahead of opening night on 12th November (also showing 13th, 14th & 15th November) at the Radcliffe School, Milton Keynes.
Performances: 7.30pm on Wednesday 12th, Thursday 13th, Friday 14th and Saturday 15th November and matinee at 2.30pm on Saturday 15th November.
Tickets £12 & £10 (concessions) please book here: http://eventsmk.ticketsource.co.uk/
“Your Loving Brother Albert” – Albert Edward Mortlock French, born on 22 June 1899 in New Bradwell, lived at 60 Young Street in Wolverton with his father, sister Mabel (May) and brothers George and Will. Albert was engaged as an apprentice fitter in the Bogey Shop at the Wolverton Railway Works on 4 July 1913.His record card from Wolverton Works is marked ‘Left without Notice’ on 16 October 1915. Despite being only 16, Albert had joined up ‘to do his bit’ for the war effort. He had a sense of adventure, like hundreds of others from Wolverton Works. He was killed in action on 15 June 1916, a week before his 17th birthday. He was part of a working party sandbagging a trench which was attacked by enemy machine-gun fire. He had been hit in the chest by four machine-gun bullets. Personal letters to his father from his Captain and the Chaplain tell of a fine young man, who served with pride and was an asset to his regiment. The letters were a chance discovery, in 1975, bundled among the belongings of his sister May after her death. Roger Kitchen, a co-founder of Living Archive MK, conducted interviews with the family and many others who remembered the Great War period
“Nellie” – Nellie Abbey nee Smith died in 1982. She was a remarkable woman, best known for organising the huge Whitsun Hospital Fetes in New Bradwell. She was not only a good organiser, but a person of great creativity, musical talent, boundless energy and fun who gave a life of service to her local community.